Last week I gave some personal
insight into how this time of year is my personal selling season. I was very surprised
by the number of readers that contacted me and (laughing) agreed with my
commentary on how weather impacts sales, especially in my backyard of Northeast
Ohio. But, several people asked about the budget discussion with clients, as in
how can they begin or open this conversation. So, this week as a follow-up,
here are a few ideas on how to engage your client with the topic of remaining
budget before December 31st hits.
For the seasoned sales
veteran, you should already have a sense of how your client’s budgets are
determined. For example, does your client run on a calendar year budget cycle?
Do they have a use it or lose it policy? Do they have any special payment terms
that would infringe on the idea of spending in short order? If you know the
answers, it will make the initial phone call much easier.
If you are new to sales
or new in a relationship with a client, the questions are the same, but you may
need to set your client up with a series of preliminary conversations before
making the ask. Talk to the client and engage in conversation regarding how
they are planning for next year. While in discussion, slip the previous
questions I mentioned into the conversation, and make sure to note when and how
budgets are determined for the following year.
And then it is time to
ask. The ask must be done live either by telephone or face-to-face. The ask is
about sincerity. It is about wanting your client to know that you would like to
help them spend their remaining budget, but that it is to help them not you.
The ask is about gaining the trust of the client by wanting to help them
achieve their goals before the end of the year which will lessen the spending
burden in the coming year. And most importantly, when you engage in the ask,
you must be willing to drop the subject quickly if the client does not want to
discuss it any further.
The end of the year ask
is not about a pressure sale. It is not about quotas. And most importantly, it
is not about you. It is about wanting to help your client. Sincerity when
asking about remaining budget being spent with you will be the win or the loss.
It is entirely in your hands.